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Unveiling Our 2016 Designers of the Year Award

Designer Sholto Scruton talks about the design process behind the ruler-inspired award.

This year’s Designers of the Year Award not only honours the best craftsmen and women of Western Canada, but the award itself exhibits a balance between practicality and beauty. Designed by Sholto Scruton, our 2015 Furniture Designer of the Year, the award takes the philosophies of a simple ruler and uses it as foundation for a functional and prestigious item.

Why the ruler?

A ruler seemed like a good choice because all designers that I know use a ruler on a regular basis. They have specific rulers for their different tasks but I think everybody has that 30 cm ruler somewhere around and I thought, ‘wouldn’t it be nice to have something at home or on your desk that you could use as a reference and on a daily basis, and when times are tough and you’re finding difficulties finding inspiration you could kind of be reminded that you’ve being acknowledged for doing good work.

What were your inspirations when designing the award?

I wanted to create something that would be a daily reminder for the winners to keep on doing great work. I wanted to do something that they would use on a regular basis. If you have something, that you sort of fit as an award, typically, it just needs to be either really, really beautiful so you always have it out or it needs to be something useful. Typically they’re not useful, unless they’re used as a doorstop.

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What was designing process like for you?

I really just started with the practical aspect. If it was going to be awarded it needs to stand upright, potentially have some presence, so I wanted it to act both as an award and as a ruler. Initially I was thinking about the scale rulers.

The awards display a blend of minimalist design, practicality and beauty, how were you able to convey all these elements together?

I think just simply starting with what you’re trying to achieve and removing any sort of adornments. All the practical issues, once solved, leave you with very few options and there’s a more beautiful option and there’s a less beautiful option. So on the tail there’s a slight radius, a 5 mm radius on the back end of the piece, that didn’t need to be there, but I thought it would be nice to soften it so it wouldn’t be a sharp point. It also led me to do a graduated line between the tail and the flat piece and I think that adds some beauty to it.

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What’s the story behind the material?

Initially, I was going to use stainless steel, but that had a couple drawbacks, one it was a very expensive material to start with, two, its expensive to mill and it also left it being very heavy, giving a real weight to the piece, which I thought was somewhat impractical. I’m really pleased with the weight of the piece as it stands. The aluminum gave me the option to anodize it and you can anodize things in a number of different colours, so this was an opportunity to personalize it for each of the winners.

The award is somehow both simple and subtly intricate, what’s your favourite detail?

I think it’s just the simple balance between all the aspects of it. I was quite thoughtful with all the details and how they came together, I don’t think this ruler could achieve all it does in a different way. I guess it’s just the balance between all these characteristics.

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Missed our Designers of the Year winners announcement? Click here!

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